For the past 15 years Chippewa Park has had its public beach closed on a regular basis each summer. A series of studies identified a number of sources of the contamination but only minimal effort was made to eliminate the problems. As a result of the actions by The Friends of Chippewa Park the beach was dredged early in the spring of 2003 with all of the detritus removed from the site and stored in an abandoned shale pit located within the park. Two culverts were installed at the land end of one of the two breakwaters and combined with a widened opening between the two facilitated better circulation of the lake water. These two actions, while not eliminating the entire problem resulted in the beach only being closed for a total of 48 hours last season. The point was not lost on the local population who has gradually begin returning to Thunder Bay’s only Lake Superior public beach.
Work has been completed in the establishment of a log retaining wall that will on one hand act as a barrier to the large flocks of geese that are found at the park in the spring and fall, and on the other create a barrier to prevent any land runoff from entering into the swimming area. A drainage system that includes surface ditches and underground storm sewer pipes has been installed to transport all of the surface runoff to a point outside the breakwater. This runoff will include ditches that drain the Wildlife Exhibit and a mobile home park located on the adjacent First Nation land. It will also drain all adjacent fields and parking lots.
Finally, the area behind the retaining wall willl be backfilled, graded and landscaped to provide a quality environment for the park users.
An aerating fountain with the ability to treat 800 gallons a minute has been installed and will be in operation at the beach each summer season. The ionization chamber is designed to clean the water from most if not all of the organisms that lead to beach closures.
The foundation for the band stand have been installed in the bay along with the piers for the walkway connecting it to the beach. Discussions are ongoing with a local firm to have them complete the construction at their cost.
The original budget for the beach rehabilitation was $535,000. The final cost is in the range of $750,000.